Types of Damages You Can Recover After a Personal Injury

When you suffer a personal injury, you could have the right to compensation from the liable parties. Legally, such redress is referred to as damages, and the purpose is to put your life back in the position you were before the injury occurred. 

If an out-of-court settlement is not reached and your case proceeds to trial, the court may award you damages that it deemed sufficient recompense.

Personal Injuries That Can Lead to Compensation

As long as another party’s negligence caused your injuries, you have a right to pursue damages. Some common instances include:

  • Road accidents
  • Slip-and-falls
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Wrongful Death
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Injuries caused by defective products
  • Dog-bites

What Damages Can You Recover After a Personal Injury?

The types of damages you can recover will depend on the details unique to each claim. There are three main types of damages that you can receive after suffering injuries caused by negligence, as detailed out below.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are meant to make victims of loss whole again through reimbursement and financial compensation. Compensatory damages are broadly classified into two sections: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages 

These refer to the direct financial losses incurred following the incident. They may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Loss or damage of property
  • Legal fees
  • Increased living expenses

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are meant to cover losses that cannot be quantified, such as:

  • Emotional distress
  • Physical pain and suffering as a result of your injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Lower quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Any other inconveniences caused by the injury

Nominal Damages

A trivial sum of money awarded to a plaintiff whose legal right has been technically violated but who has not established that they are entitled to compensatory damages because there was no accompanying loss or harm. Unlike compensatory damages which are intended to compensate for injury, nominal damages are awarded to commemorate the plaintiff’s vindication in court.

Punitive Damages

Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and are intended to punish the defendant’s reckless or malicious actions. In addition, they are meant to deter future occurrences. As the injured party, you may receive some or all the punitive damages awarded.

How Damages Are Calculated in a Personal Injury Case

The amount of damages due depends on the severity of your injuries, magnitude of your loss, and how they’ve affected you. Remember, damages are not supposed to enrich you but to indemnify you.

Calculating the sums involves actual financial records like medical bills or lost wages for the economic damages. While non-economic damages are usually based on a multiplier scale.

Nominal damages are usually insignificant, while punitive damages will solely depend on the court.

Statute of Limitations In Personal Injury Cases

There is a time limit beyond which you cannot recover damages for your losses. It is known as the statute of limitations, and varies depending on your state. In most jurisdictions, the period is one to two years after the occurrence of the act or omission that led to your injuries.

It is essential to pursue your claim as soon as possible to prevent being locked out. This also prevents evidence from wearing away.There are exceptions to this rule, though, and a well-versed attorney will advise you accordingly, depending on the circumstances.